Rosemount GAA Social Initiative Project still full of ideas
By John Harrington
Not even the COVID-19 lockdown has managed to stop the always proactive Rosemount GAA Social Initiative group from doing some good work.
Their planned schedule of events has had to be shelved for now, but they’ve come up with a novel project to compensate.
They’ve digitally curated a number of videos and photographs that detail life and history in the local community and made them available to all club-members and members of the Social Initiative project.
“It was an initiative we meant for the senior people but as it turned out the junior people enjoyed it as well,” says Jimmy Keane, who along with John Burke has been a driving force behind the Rosemount GAA Social Initiative Project since its inception in 2010.
“We put together collection of videos of different events in the area over the years such as football matches or other notable events.
“It wasn't just for our own membership, but people living overseas who would be from the area originally or supporters of our club.
“We've gotten huge feedback from it, so it's been great.”
It’s a frustrating time for everyone involved with the Rosemount Social Initiative because their priority has always been to engage with people who might otherwise be socially isolated.
Now, unfortunately, social isolation has been forced upon us by the COVID-19 lockdown, but Keane and his fellow committee members are still doing all they can to engage with their members by phoning them on a regular basis.
“When this lockdown started we sent out a text to every member telling them we were hoping they were doing okay and to let them know that if they needed help with anything then it was available," says Keane.
"And after that we began ringing our more senior members on a regular basis. We would have gotten a lot of messages back from people thanking us for thinking of them.
“What the Social Initiative means for people here is that it gives them a great social outlet they wouldn't otherwise have. They really looked forward to all the different events that we have.
“One of the first messages we got back when we sent those texts out was from an 88-year-old woman saying she hoped we'd still be able to go on our trips this year.
“You hear a lot of talk about mental health nowadays, and I've no doubt that if we didn't have our social inclusion initiative in Rosemount than a lot more of our people would suffer from mental health problems.
“We have a good mix of male and female, young and old, who take part and get an awful lot from it.
“We go away for a few days every year. We'd have around five different trips during the year and at least one of them has a two-night stop-over. We always try to meet GAA royalty on the trips if we can.
“Last year we were down in Nemo Rangers Cork and met Billy Morgan and Tomás Ó Sé in Nemo Rangers and on the way back we had lunch in Hayes Hotel in Thurles and Michael Ryan joined us and gave us a talk.”
The vibrancy of a community can be accurately gauged by how well it looks after its youngest and oldest members, and Rosemount scores very highly in that regard.
Last year, the GAA club pened two new facilities – a playground for children and a Social Initiative Stand for senior citizens who want to watch club-teams play in a bit more comfort than usual.
“The Social Initiative Stand that can hold over 20 people, it's a heated enclosure,” says Keane.
“That was open last September. It was just one of these things that we said we'd do for senior citizens coming to games. It's just our way of trying to get more people out.
“On a cold day it's a nice place to watch a match and we'd give them a cup of tea at half-time. Unfortunately we've had just one match since then because of everything that has happened, but hopefully it will be used again before too long.”